Hobie Forums

Mast Collar
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Author:  Philip1el [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:25 am ]
Post subject:  Mast Collar

So wary am I of posting yet more problems to the forum that i contacted Hobbie direct for advice but no reply!

The rudder pin issues are sorted, the lock down problem botched with a G clamp, now its the nylon ball bearings in the mast foot collar. Whenever I lift the boat to one side they all fall out!

I actually went sailing with one of them lying in the base of the well and did some considerable damage to the entire foot assembly by stepping the mast directly on top of it. Not a difficult mistake to make, one hardly expects to have to check the bearings before you launch. I have tried tightening the collar to keep them in place but darent put to much compression on it. The balls still fall out.

I have to say, unlike most of the satisfied customers on this forum, to date I am really not happy with the build quality of this craft and if I had been aware of the problems I would have encountered would have thought twice about purchasing it, but then maybe i bought a 'friday night' boat.

Anyone else encounter this problem and if so any advice on a quick fix? As I have done NOTHING to cause this problem its an item I can claim under my warranty but getting it here is going to take some time.


Author:  Yakaholic [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 6:32 am ]
Post subject: 

Ahhh Philip

I had precisely the same problem. My mast bearing balls kept falling out. I had to buy a new one because 1 of the balls went missing and the mast bearing needs all of them.

Let me try to walk you thru the fix.

The mast bearing has a top piece and a bottom piece - they are interchangeable, and of course all the nylon balls. The top and bottom parts of the mast bearing make a sandwich with the aluminum forward X-bar in the middle.

What has happened is that the sandwich is too thick which allows the gap in the mast bearing to be too wide which allows the balls to fall out.

Disassemble the mast bearing, look for metal burrs and high spots on the metal -Xbrace (top and bottom) and sand them all down. Sand the plastic area on the top and bottom halves of the mast bearing that mate against the x-brace. Area sanded is where the six holes are drilled. If yours are like mine where every hole is drilled will be a high spot.

Remember the goal is to make a thinner sandwich. Once all sanded - reassemble, keeping the notch cut for mast lock tab oriented correctly. Make sure you have all the balls - they should completly fill the entire diameter of the bearing - no spaces.

Tighten the screws up quite a bit and then check to see if your balls still fall out.

I have 2 Islands. On a very early model with original anodized akas & x-braces the clam shell mast bearing was 1/32" tighter than the Island with "e" coated akas and x-braces.

So 1/32" tighter should be your approximate goal.

My Thread over at KFS:



PS Many time it is the users who first find the problem and the fix not Hobie. Hobie does listen and many times adopts the fix or incoporate the suggestions into its production.

Author:  Yakaholic [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:03 am ]
Post subject: 

Pic is of a brand new mast bearing 1/2 before sanding.

You can see the raised hump where the screw hole is located.

Figure these on both halves of the mast bearing plus raised spots on the X-brace metal and you have 1/32"+ of added material making the bearing out of tolerance.


Author:  The Dog [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mast Collar

Philip1el wrote:
So wary am I of posting yet more problems to the forum that i contacted Hobbie direct for advice but no reply!

For what it's worth... The Hobie tech guys are/were in Fiji. They probably got the email, but may not have had the resources or time to reply.

Brian C

Author:  Philip1el [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:19 am ]
Post subject:  genius!

Yakaholic to the rescue once more! Many Thanks. Fortunately I have been able to retain all the ball bearings and will follow your advice and narrow the sandwich! I thought that burrs, lumps and flashing were a uniquely BRITISH manufacturing anomoly. Nice to hear that just like our generic Nortons of yor, (of which it was said that, provided you dissasemled and rebuilt them immediately after purchase, they were the best bikes in the world) Hobie are following a great British tradition :wink:

WHAT NEXT??? rest assured if theres a glitch it will be me that finds it and I live in hope that you will sort it for me!

I have to admit In between extensive maintenance sessions i do get the chance to sail out to our local Island and actually enjoy the craft, its just that one thing follows another. yesterday i noticed one of the forward hatch bungees was loose...the hook that holds it in place had come apart from the turnbuckle/nut which was made of plastic, the thread was stripped. A stainless screw into plastic! Also the collar at the mast base is
off centre, probaly the result of having sailed one time with the mast foot seated on the ball bearing that dropped into the mast foot well!!!!

Anyway Thanks again for your help

Best Regards


Author:  Yakaholic [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:56 am ]
Post subject: 

The next issue you will run into is a worn out bushing in the base of the mast cup. No matter how hard you try sand and debri will wash in the mast cup and grind away at the bushing.

Having to invert the kayak to wash out the sand from mast cup is no fun.

My mast cup bushing lasted about 3 months, the amount of play and rattle between the mast pin and mast cup bushing kinda bothered me. Bushings once worn seem to have accelerated wear.

Solution is that once the bushing is worn enough you can get some nylon hose 3/4" long 3/8" ID - 1/2"OD. Stretch/force it onto the mast pin and you now have a cushion between the metal mast pin and the mast bushing. Eliminates rattle and excess play and keeps the mast better centered. 50 cents of hose stays very well put on the mast pin. If the hose makes the mast fit too tight just sand off a little of the hose for a better fit.

Been using this solution for about 8 months now.


Yes the Island is well built and quite amazing but there are all kinds of minor tweaks and adjustments that help.
I never let the silly details detract from the wonderful time I have sailing. Boat is a blast - no matter what.

Author:  Philip1el [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:23 am ]
Post subject: 

Already noticed that, assumed it was as a result of the mast foot bearing down on the captive ball which slipped into the base of the cup. Will follow your advice and insulate the mast tip with some plastic pipe. Passing all your help down the line to our dealer. I believe we have one more AI owner on Phuket and it would be great for him if he were advised as to potential problems before encountering them...forewarned is forearmed!

Again Many Thanks.


Author:  boogie-d [ Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:17 pm ]
Post subject:  not the only one

dont get me wrong i love my AI but it seems as though were not the only one bummed on having to spend 3000$ on a yak and then have to fix it everytime we go out. i am so over the local dealer here on oahu. who in there right mind would give dean from hello, wind ward boats, the exclusive right to deal hobie on oahu. wake up hobie and go with john from go bananas for your kayak division. i just keep fixing my boat and fixing my boat and modifying my boat. now i am taking on about 2-gallons of water a trip. cant wait for all the fun down time of driving my boat to the dealer halfway acroos the island and all the bull they will put me through. does anyone want to take a guess on how long i will be out of the water. I say 2 months. aloha Boogie-d Image Image

Author:  navgoulas [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Mast Collar Nylon Ball Issue

I got my AI in August and have had it a couple of times. I love the boat, but my last time out I couldn't get the mast to seat. I pulled it out and found a nylon ball wedged in the botton of the hole. Upon further examination, I noticed a number of the nylon balls had fallen out. Fortunately for me, they were all in the mast hole. I dumped them out reinstalled them and was able to sail. However, they keep falling out whenever I tip the boat without the mast installed. I called the dealer and he was going to check with Hobie. I haven't hear back yet. The dealer was going to file a warranty claim for a new bearing collar since my boat is all of about 2 months old. Knowing Hobie, they will likely stand behind the product. Hopefully they will respond.

Author:  Yakaholic [ Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:29 pm ]
Post subject: 


A new mast bearing will almost certainly not fix the problem.

Check my post and pics above. Even my brand new mast bearing came with "humps" where all the screw holes are located.

Only sure fix I know of is detailed in my post above. Get out that sandpaper. :D

You would have to take apart the mast bearing anyway to put a new one on.

Author:  mmiller [ Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Mast bearings

The dealer was going to file a warranty claim for a new bearing collar since my boat is all of about 2 months old. Knowing Hobie, they will likely stand behind the product. Hopefully they will respond.

As Yakaholic has discovered... the issue is easily corrected. Most times by simply tightening the screws more, but in some cases sanding is required.

If we receive a claim from the dealer, we will advise the above remedy.

Author:  navgoulas [ Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Mast Collar Repair

I took a good look at the collar and discovered that the bolt holding the clip wasn't tight and that is where the nylon ball bearings fell out. However, just to be safe I took off the collar and sanded it as Yakaholic indicated and retightened all the screws. It appears that everything is good now.

Note to Matt Miller it would be nice if Hobie would sell the nylon balls separately as a repair item. That way if a couple were lost they could be replaced without ordering a whole new assembly.

Author:  mmiller [ Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Nylon balls

Note to Matt Miller it would be nice if Hobie would sell the nylon balls separately as a repair item. That way if a couple were lost they could be replaced without ordering a whole new assembly.

Agreed! We should have them available. Maybe we already do. I will have to check with the engineers Monday on the correct part number.

Author:  kirkdaddy [ Sat Oct 27, 2007 6:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have to say that your direct involvement on this forum was a huge factor in my decision to buy an AI recently. Keep up the great work!

Author:  Philip1el [ Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:54 am ]
Post subject:  Many Thanks for your help

Finally got round to sanding the collars, didnt dare try the X bar brace worried about losing that e-coating, sanding just the collars seems to have done the trick thus far, the bearing race is staying within the collar.

Many Thanks Yakaholic for the tip and for keeping me on the water!


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